Critical Communication for Adults
Communication is not just about how you talk and listen. It’s about making connections with people being a cooperative and trusted team worker, and a good friend, someone people can count on, and someone they respect and like. This is achieved through effective communication.
Success in your career may also depend on your ability to communicate. In order to exchange information efficiently and accurately, you must speak clearly without sound distortions, struggling to find the words or excessive revisions. You must also read correspondence and write documents that succinctly and tactfully make your point.
Adult communication challenges can look different depending upon the individual. To see testimonials and stories from those who gained critical communication skills, visit our media page.
Below are some common adult communication challenges:
What is Accent Modification?
Mastering a second language is an exemplary accomplishment; however, sometimes the sound system of the native language interferes with learning the sound system of the new language. This can also happen with sentence structures and intonation patterns. When this happens, it can be difficult for native speakers to understand speakers of English as a Second Language (ESL). Accent modification classes involve refining the students’ speech, language and intonation patterns to resemble the patterns of native speakers.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Accent Modification?
At Therapies for Success, our accent modification classes start with a thorough assessment to identify the causes of the communication breakdowns. Then students sharpen their discrimination skills to help them hear the difference between their own speech, language and intonation patterns and those of native speakers. While refining their discrimination skills, students can be strengthening their tongue muscles and learning to produce the sounds of English. They can also refine their sentence structures and intonation patterns.
Stuttering and Dysfluency
What are Stuttering and Fluency Disorders
Stuttering is a disruption in the smooth quality of speech, otherwise known as dysfluency. It usually begins during childhood and can last throughout life. Sometimes it can begin later in life following a trauma.
Some dysfluency is normal. For instance, most individuals repeat words and phrases, and they pause between words with fillers such as “um” or “uh.” That type of normal nonfluency is not a problem; however, when there are so many moments of dysfluency that it interferes with listener understanding, it turns into stuttering.
Stuttering effects the production of speech sounds. Some people who stutter appear very tense or “out of breath” when talking.
There are different types of dysfluencies.
This happens when the mouth is positioned to say a sound, sometimes for several seconds. Eventually, with a great deal of effort, the individual completes the word. The blocking can occur at the lips, tongue or back of throat and cause a great deal of anxiety and interfere significantly with communication.
Repetitions can involve entire phrases (I want to…I want to…), words (I…I…I…) or parts of words (D…D…D…Do). The degree to which they interfere with communication depends on the length and force of the repetitions.
These occur when a sound is drawn out for a period of time (ssssss…ometimes I exercise). The length and tension related to the prolongations determines the degree to which they interfere with communication.
These are usually filler words such as “um” or “like”. They are often used as delay tactics when individuals are anticipating that their speech will get stuck on certain sounds or words. Interjections become a problem when they are used so frequently that listeners find them distracting and focus on the delivery rather than the message itself.
In childhood, there are risk factors to predict whether or not stuttering will discontinue on its own. Factors that are noted by many specialists include the following: a family history of stuttering; stuttering that has continued for 6 months or longer; presence of other speech or language disorders; strong fears or concerns about stuttering on the part of the child or the family.
No single factor can be used to predict whether or not a child will continue to stutter. A combination of these factors can help speech language pathologists determine whether treatment is indicated. For older children and adults, the question of whether stuttering is likely to continue is less important, because the stuttering has continued long enough to become a problem in the person’s daily life.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Stuttering and Fluency Disorders?
At Therapies for Success, treatment begins with a thorough evaluation. This consists of tests, observations, and interviews that are designed to assess the overall severity of the disorder. In addition, it is imperative to determine how severely the disorder is impacting a person’s ability to communicate and participate appropriately in daily activities. Information from the evaluation is then used to develop a specific treatment program, one that is designed to help the individual speak more fluently, communicate more effectively, and participate in life’s activities with greater enjoyment.
Therapy for stuttering may include the following:
- Control and monitor the rate of speech. When learning to control speech rate, people often begin by practicing smooth, fluent speech at rates that are much slower than typical speech, using short phrases and sentences. Over time, people learn to produce smooth speech at faster rates, in longer sentences, and in more challenging situations until their speech sounds both fluent and natural.
- Control and monitor breathing. When learning to control and monitor breathing, people often begin by using diaphragmatic breathing and pairing it with 1 – 2 syllable words. Over time, people learn to pair their breathing with multi-syllabic words, phrases, sentences and eventually, with conversational speech.
- Control and monitor eye contact. When learning to control and monitor eye contact, people often begin by learning the art of light eye contact—looking at their conversational partners briefly, looking away and then looking back again. Over time, people learn to look at their conversational partners with intent, showing genuine interest in the person and the conversation.
- Build self-confidence through practice and experience. Students practice their new skills in a hierarchy of situations starting with the least stressful and increasing to the most challenging situations.
What are Voice Disorders?
A voice disorder means there is problem with vocal quality. A healthy voice is clear, strong and age/gender appropriate. A voice disorder occurs when the quality of a person’s voice is noticeably different from others their same age and sex. This abnormality is considered a voice disorder when it draws attention to a person’s manner of speaking.
Typical concerns pertain to a hoarse voice, which is usually related to growths on the vocal cords called nodules. A voice disorder can also pertain to inappropriate volume, when a person talks too loud or too soft. Nasality is also a common concern, when a person has too much nasal emission or too little. Pitch is another common concern—this happens when the voice is pitched too high or too low—both effecting the listener’s comfort level and the vocal health of the person speaking.
Voice disorders typically sound abnormal to listeners because they are:
- Too high or too low
- Too loud or too soft
Voice problems can cause challenging symptoms such as hoarseness, or loss of voice, pain, strain and vocal fatigue. They can lead to career difficulties and social anxiety caused by stereotyping and teasing.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Voice Disorders?
Treatment must begin with a visit to the Ear-Nose-Throat Doctor to rule out any medical issues and/or physical abnormalities. Once cleared by a physician, people with voice disorders can eliminate hoarseness and improve the quality of their voices by reducing their shouting, screaming, throat clearing/coughing or excessively loud talking. They can learn:
- Excellent vocal hygiene
- Proper breathing
- Relaxation techniques
Our speech-language pathologists at Therapies for Success are specialists in treating voice disorders.
What is Dyslexia?
If you look up dyslexia in the dictionary, it simply says dyslexia is difficulty learning to read, write and spell, despite having intelligence, motivation, education with no sensory damage. That means…. to have dyslexia, a person must be bright, motivated, educated and have normal hearing and visual skills and yet have problems with reading. Dyslexia is not a delay in reading achievement; it will not resolve itself over time.
How many people are affected by dyslexia?
According to recent surveys, about 3 ½ percent of all public-school children are receiving special education for reading difficulties…. that’s 3 or 4 out of 100. In 1998, the National Research Council’s Committee on Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children did a study. They gave hundreds of kids an intelligence test and a reading test. A whopping 20% of these children were reading below their grade or ability levels. Clearly the public schools are not picking up the majority of these children with reading challenges. That’s discouraging news knowing that dyslexic readers will NEVER catch up with their classmates without appropriate intervention.
What causes dyslexia?
Let’s start by clarifying a common myth. People with dyslexia are NOT prone to seeing letters or words backwards. Those with dyslexia do not SEE “was” as “saw” or “saw” as “was”. The deficit responsible for dyslexia resides in the language system of the brain. It is not an overall defect in language, but rather a localized weakness in the phonological system of the brain. That is the part of the brain where the sounds of language are put together to form words and where words are broken down into their component sounds. The word “cat”, for example, has 3 sounds….c-a-t. Individuals with dyslexia have difficulty doing that…. identifying the phonemes in words.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Dyslexia?
- Early intervention. An individual needs help before he fails. Don’t use the “wait to fail” model. There is too much at stake here. Fluency comes from correctly and repeatedly reading the same words over and over.
- Intense instruction. Optimally, instruction should be individualized and take place at least 3 – 4 times a week.
- High quality instruction. Dr. Sally Shaywitz, a leading expert in dyslexia research, says teaching IS rocket science. The teacher’s knowledge and experience are key. And the reading program must be based on scientifically proven methods that address phonemic awareness, decoding, spelling, memorizing sight words, fluency, written expression, vocabulary building, worldly knowledge and comprehension strategies.
- Sufficient duration. Some dyslexic individuals need over 300 hours of intensive instruction to close the reading gap. The longer identification and effective reading instruction are delayed, the longer the person will need intervention to catch up.
Like any reading disorder, treatment for dyslexia begins with an accurate diagnosis. Does the problem go all the way back to a problem with phonemic awareness, and thus a problem utilizing phonics? Or is the person having difficulty breaking words into syllables? Alternately, the person’s phonics and syllabication may be intact, but the problem is rooted in sight word recognition.
Once the root of the problem is revealed, treatment should begin from the ground up. Students need mastery of the building blocks that form the basis for reading fluency. And then they need repeated practice to build confidence and fluency. At Therapies for Success, we will diagnose the root of the dyslexia and then provide the treatment needed for success.
What are Executive Functioning Skills?
These are the mental skills that help people complete detailed, high quality tasks in a timely manner. Intact executive functioning skills enable people to:
- Pay attention and remember important information;
- Prioritize their tasks depending upon importance and due dates;
- Plan and organize their tasks;
- Develop timelines and manage their time, allowing enough time for necessary breaks and revisions;
- Use information and experience from the past to solve or prevent problems from reoccurring;
- Complete tasks with quality control in a timely manner.
What Causes an Executive Functioning Disorder?
Individuals with ADD or ADHD are often inattentive. They may also struggle with impulsivity and/or hyperactivity. These symptoms often interfere with the ability to make deadlines and complete tasks with the necessary detail and quality.
What is the Optimal Treatment for an Executive Functioning Disorder?
The best way to address an executive functioning disorder is to work with one of our specialists to build the scaffold needed for success. That often means modifying the environment, teaching deficient skills and then practicing the new skills in short, manageable segments while providing the support and incentives needed until success is achieved. At Therapies for Success, we build this scaffold for success.
What is Math Comprehension?
Math comprehension involves reading and understanding the written problems. Math word problems often pose a challenge, because they require students to read and comprehend the text of the problem, identify the question that needs to be answered, and then create and solve a numerical equation.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Math Comprehension?
This requires a combination of fluent reading, comprehension, problem solving and math fluency. At Therapies for Success, we diagnose the cause of the problem and then address it from all angles.
What is Math Fluency?
Math fluency is the ability to apply mathematical procedures accurately, efficiently and flexibly to complete basic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. By the time they reach the mid-elementary grades, students must have the math fluency skills to complete multiple-step procedure using all of the basic operations to solve a single problem.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Math Fluency?
To make math fluent and effortless (automatic), students often need a combination of methodologies to help them remember the facts as well as a system of tools to figure out the facts when their memories fail. At Therapies for Success, we do it all!
What is Phonemic Awareness?
Phonemic awareness is having the ability to hear, identify and manipulate the sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. For example, the spoken word “cat” has 3 sounds…c-a-t. Students learn to isolate these sounds, enabling them to tell you that the first sound in “cat” is “c”, the second sound is “a” and the last sound is “t”. Then students learn to blend the individual sounds into the whole word and, conversely, to take the whole word and break it into sounds. Eventually, students can replace the “c” in the word “cat” with an “f” to make the word “fat” and replace the “t” in “fat” with an “n” to make the word “fan”.
People who can perform these skills have phonemic awareness and are ready to learn the letters that go with the sounds…otherwise known as phonics. We know for a fact that phonemic awareness is critical for the mastery of reading and written expression.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Phonemic Awareness?
Treatment for phonemic awareness challenges must begin with an accurate diagnosis. At Therapies for Success, we will diagnose the individual’s phonemic awareness weaknesses and then teach the skills in developmental order.
What is Reading Fluency?
Reading fluency is the ability to read phrases and sentences smoothly and quickly, recognizing that they are expressions of complete ideas. Problems with reading fluency are typically caused by difficulties with phonemic awareness, which in turn, causes challenges with phonics acquisition, decoding and breaking long words into syllables.
Sometimes, the problem stems from identification of sight words. Individuals with reading fluency challenges typically struggle with comprehending and remembering what they read, because their efforts are devoted to decoding the individual words rather than processing the meaning of the text.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Reading Fluency?
Like any reading disorder, treatment for reading fluency challenges begins with an accurate diagnosis. Does the problem go all the way back to a problem with phonemic awareness, and thus, a problem utilizing phonics? Or is the student having difficulty breaking words into syllables? Alternately, the student’s phonics and syllabication may be intact, but the problem is rooted in sight word recognition.
Once the root of the problem is revealed, treatment should begin from the ground up. Students need mastery of the building blocks that form the basis for reading fluency. And then they need repeated practice to build confidence and fluency. At Therapies for Success, we will diagnose the root of the reading fluency problem and then provide the treatment needed for success.
What is Reading Comprehension?
Reading Comprehension is the act of understanding what you are reading. It is an intentional, active, interactive process that occurs before, during and after a person reads a piece of text. When students read text, they are using a complex array of cognitive processes. They are simultaneously using their understanding of phonemes (sounds), and phonics (connections between letters and sounds) and their ability to construct meaning from the text. Optimal comprehension cannot occur unless phonemes and phonics are mastered, enabling rapid decoding, and reading is completely fluent. If decoding is not intact and reading is choppy, students will devote too much energy to sounding out the words to completely understand what they are reading.
Once reading fluency is mastered, there are four other requirements necessary for optimal comprehension: vocabulary knowledge, understanding of sentence structures and the higher order language processes known as critical thinking in addition to executive functioning. To understand a piece of literature, readers must comprehend the vocabulary. For example, knowing the meaning of “gushing waterfalls” and “massive granite boulders” enables the reader to picture scenes from a national park.
Readers must also comprehend syntax and grammar, the components of sentence structures. For example, the more advanced sentence, “The dog was chased by the cat.” conjures up a dramatically different image from the simple sentence, “The dog chased the cat.”
Assuming that fluency, vocabulary knowledge and sentence structure comprehension are all intact, the ultimate level of reading comprehension requires a higher order of language processing. This involves the critical thinking process of inference-making, including predicting outcomes and drawing conclusions. It also involves understanding text structure, whether it is a narrative format for short stories and novels or a main idea and supporting details format for textbooks like history and science.
Finally, a great comprehender must use excellent executive functioning skills. This means monitoring our understanding and rereading or asking for help when necessary. It also requires relating new information to previously learned information about the subject. Executive functioning also prompts readers to take notes for long-term memory and to allow time to process, organize and memorize information for test preparation and writing essays.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Reading Comprehension?
Reading comprehension requires excellent reading fluency combined with excellent oral language skills to get to the deeper meaning. Not only that, students must have excellent study skills to record information and organize it in a meaningful and memorable manner. Therefore, optimal treatment must begin with an accurate diagnosis of the problem and then include a balanced approach that addresses all of the skills needed to get to the deeper meaning of the text and remember it. At Therapies for Success, we treat reading comprehension challenges from the ground up.
What Makes a Great Speller?
People who excel at spelling are also fluent readers. They understand the rules that form the foundation for our English spelling system. They understand that there must be a letter or group of letters for each spoken sound (phonemic awareness) and also that morphemes (root words and affixes) have predictable spelling patterns (morphemic awareness). In addition, they understand the rules that govern how English words are spelled (orthographic awareness) as well as the role of meaning on spelling variations (semantic awareness).
What is the Optimal Treatment for Spelling?
An ideal spelling program targets all the rules. Students must learn and master the rules for phonemic, morphological, semantic and orthographic awareness. At Therapies for Success, we teach our students the spelling rules to improve their reading fluency and written expression.
What are the Best Study Skills?
Excellent study skills are not based on speed reading, they are based on reading for the deeper meaning. Then successful students record the highpoints with excellent note-taking skills. At Therapies for Success, we teach our students to read at the deepest level and take efficacious notes.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Study Skills?
To learn effective study skills, students need to team-read their literature with literacy specialists as they practice critical thinking and note-taking. At Therapies for Success, we practice excellent study skills and then gradually fade our support until our students are independent.
What Makes a Great Proofreader?
To excel at proofreading, all the learning skills must come together. Students must have strong reading skills to identify their syntax and grammatical errors. They must have excellent comprehension skills to figure out when they have left their readers hanging. They must have strong spelling skills to identify their spelling errors. They must also understand and implement the rules for the other mechanics like capitalization and punctuation. And finally, they must have the executive functioning skills to finish their written assignments in advance with enough time remaining to get feedback from other readers and refine their compositions.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Proofreading?
To learn effective proofreading skills, students need to analyze their written compositions with literacy specialists, critically looking for oversights regarding clarity, completion and redundancy. Then they need to repeat the process, looking for oversights regarding tense usage and writing mechanics like capitalization, punctuation and spelling. At Therapies for Success, we practice excellent proofreading skills and then gradually fade our support until our students are independent.
What Skills are Needed for Written Composition?
Writing is a complex multiple-step process that incorporates all of the reading, comprehension, spelling and proofreading skills. Then, on top of it all, writing requires the executive functioning skills to determine the steps and time needed, the organizational skills to do the tasks in an efficacious manner and then the discipline to invest in the task and stick with it until the product is complete.
Here is a breakdown of the writing process:
- Analyzing the directions;
- Brainstorming a plan;
- Organizing the plan to develop the main ideas and supporting details;
- Following the plan to create a well-organized essay with a thesis or topic sentences;
- Supporting the topic sentences with details and facts followed by explanations and examples cited from the text;
- Writing transitions between the sentences;
- Summarizing the essay with a conclusion;
- Adding a universal thought or idea to motivate others to act on the information provided;
Post Writing Process – Editing
- Rereading the essay to fix any major roadblocks that interfere with readability;
- Rereading the essay to make sure each sentence is clearly written with interesting choices of vocabulary and syntactically and grammatically correct sentences;
- Rereading the essay to make sure the same verb tense was used throughout the paper;
- Rereading the essay to make certain the mechanics are correct including the spelling, capitalization and punctuation.
Why do so many individuals struggle with written expression?
Writing a well-organized succinct essay is one of the most challenging skills that people must acquire. There are so many pitfalls that can occur.
First, good writers must have excellent executive functioning skills. They must assess how much they already know about a subject and then determine where they will look for reference materials and how long it will take them to collect the information necessary to write their papers.
Then they must allocate enough time to research the internet, interview experts on the subject and /or go to the library to make it happen.
Finally, after their research is complete, students must allow adequate time to develop and refine their writing. Those who wait until the night before the due date to start their papers are struggling with executive functioning.
Equally important are the skills necessary to develop an essay. This requires perspective-taking and organizational skills. Excellent writers must take the perspective of their readers and determine how much their audience already knows about a subject and what the author must make explicit. For example, when writing about the process of training ordinary dogs to become canine companions, writers may assume that their audience understands that there is a need for service dogs for people with certain handicaps. However, they may need to explain to their readers that dogs are selected based on their temperaments, intelligence and obedience and are specifically matched to the personalities of their companions. This requires perspective taking.
Excellent writers must also use an organized approach to develop their essays. That process begins with brainstorming their thoughts followed by categorizing their ideas into main ideas and supporting details. These facts and details must be followed by explanations and examples that clarify the authors’ ideas for their readers. Excellent writers also add a touch of creativity and imagination that brings their writing to life. Essays must not only be well developed, they must be fluent as well. Written fluency is measured by how easily the reader can navigate the student’s writing.
Run-on sentences are typical problems that interfere with fluency. Sentences with syntax and grammatic errors such as subject–verb and noun–pronoun agreement issues are problematic as well. Readers also get confused when authors omit capital letters and punctuation marks and spell words incorrectly.
An individual with a problem in any one of the above areas is going to struggle with writing. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who struggle with all three!
How Important is the Ability to Express Our Thoughts in Writing?
To succeed in the workplace, individuals are required to express their thoughts in writing. They must clearly convey their messages by providing appropriate information without omissions or excessive redundancy. To accomplish that, they must consider the following elements:
- Clear organization with a logical sequence
- Precise vocabulary words
- Correct sentence structures
- Correct spelling, capitalization and punctuation
- Tactful word and sentence usage which takes the readers’ perspective and makes the point without confusing, embarrassing or insulting them.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Written Composition?
Treating written language challenges must begin with an accurate diagnosis. If the problem is spelling, oral language, reading fluency, comprehension, study skills, spelling, proofreading or executive functioning, those individuals should seek treatment at Therapies for Success.
What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) refers to the way the brain processes auditory information. These individuals usually hear normally; however, they cannot process the information they hear, which can lead to difficulties recognizing and interpreting sounds.
Individuals with APD or CAPD can suffer from problems with sound localization (where sound is being produced), auditory discrimination (recognizing the difference between sounds), auditory pattern recognition (recognizing the sequence of sounds) and with differentiating competing acoustic signals (differentiating between the important message and competing conversations/sounds). These individuals frequently have difficulty following directions and/or attending to lectures. For some individuals with APD/CAPD, these challenges surface early during reading acquisition when it is necessary to differentiate sounds in order to master phonics.
What is the Optimal Treatment for an Auditory Processing Disorder?
It is critical to start with an audiologic evaluation by an audiologist who specializes in auditory processing. An audiologist will give tests that can determine the softest sounds and words a person can hear and other tests to see how well people can recognize sounds in words and sentences.
Our speech-language pathologists at Therapies for Success will determine how well a person understands and uses language. Because the audiologist can help with the functional problems of hearing and processing, and our speech-language pathologists are focused on language, it is optimal to form a team to help individuals who suffer from auditory processing problems.
What is a Language Disorder?
Language Processing/Receptive Language
Language processing disorders refer to the way the brain processes language—that includes sounds, words, sentences, discourse and text. Individuals with language processing disorders often require more time than usual to assign meaning to these parts of language. Difficulties with language processing often impact students in social situations and in the workplace; information is frequently presented at a faster pace than these individuals are able to process the information.
Oral Language/Expressive Language
Oral language disorders refer to how individuals organize their thoughts into language. To accomplish this, people must choose appropriate words (vocabulary), sequence them in correct word order (syntax), make sure the nouns and verbs and other parts of speech match (grammar) and present their thoughts in sequential order (sequencing). If any one of these skills fails, a person has difficulty with oral expression. It is normal for most people to struggle with aspects of oral language from time to time. When it happens often, the individual has an expressive language disorder. Left untreated, this challenge will cause problems with reading fluency and written expression, because people can only read and write as well as they can talk. It will also interfere with social interaction due to the pressure to communicate clearly and tactfully with the time pressure induced by conversation.
What is the Optimal Treatment for a Language Processing Disorder?
Our speech-language pathologists at Therapies for Success are specialists in language therapy. Treatment must start with a thorough evaluation to identify the root causes of the language disorder and coordinate a treatment team to address them. Then a treatment plan will be developed to target the priority building blocks (the ones that are interfering most with communication) and then, as soon as possible, strive to develop the communication skills needed for satisfying social interaction and optimal academic achievement.
What Makes a Great Conversationalist?
People who have excellent conversational skills know how to “work a room”. They know which people to approach or groups to enter and how to start a conversation or join one that is already in progress. They know how to listen attentively with appropriate body language and eye contact and make supportive comments and ask follow-up questions. They know how and when to segue the conversation to sharing information about themselves.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Conversation Skills?
At Therapies for Success, individuals are explicitly taught the rules for conversation; then they practice with their speech-language pathologist coach by their sides.
What makes a Balanced Conversation?
People who have excellent conversational skills know how to balance talking with listening. They remember things about their family members and friends, so they can initiate conversations to show interest in them. They know how to give supportive comments and ask follow-up questions. They also know how to make remarks to smoothly transition conversations to talking about themselves. Excellent conversationalists strive for a balance between talking and listening.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Conducting a Balanced Conversation?
At Therapies for Success, individuals are explicitly taught the rules for the conversational balance; then they practice with their speech-language pathologist coach by their sides.
Making and Keeping Friends
What’s Involved in Making and Keeping Friends?
People who have a broad circle of friends know how to pick them. They look for people who show an interest in them and treat them with kindness and respect. They offer their friends that same level of support. Then they nurture their friendships with quality time and reciprocal conversations with a balance of talking and listening.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Making and Keeping Friends?
At Therapies for Success, individuals are explicitly taught the rules for picking and nurturing friends; then they practice with their speech-language pathologist coach by their sides.
How can you Bully-Proof People?
People must learn to differentiate harmful bullying from harmless teasing. When they are being bullied, they must learn to walk away or respond with strong assertive comments. If the bullying continues, they must find a safe haven and seek advice.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Bully Prevention?
One of the best means of diminishing bullying is to give all individuals assertive “bystander” skills. Bullies are performing for an audience, so “bystanders” must learn to become “upstanders” and invite victims into their groups, report bullying to authorities or simply walk away.
At Therapies for Success, individuals are explicitly taught the rules for dealing with bullying and supporting their peers; then they practice with their speech-language pathologist coach by their sides.
What are Great Problem-Solving Skills?
Excellent problem-solving skills start with categorizing our problems. Some problems are big and likely require professional advice or troubleshooting with a family member or friend. Most medium problems are manageable; they just require the ability to take perspectives and predict outcomes. And some problems are so minor that they can be overlooked without hurting anyone or causing hard feelings.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Solving Problems?
At Therapies for Success, individuals are explicitly taught the rules for problem solving; then they practice with their speech-language pathologist coach by their sides.
What Behaviors are Expected during Social Interaction?
People are expected to keep their bodies in the group. That means facing their shoulders toward the group; they are encouraged to shift their weight slightly, but they must keep an appropriate distance from their conversational partners without getting too close or too distant or turning their bodies the wrong way.
People are also expected to keep their eyes in the group. They must make light eye contact with their conversational partners without staring or letting their eyes wander.
Another critical skill that people expect during conversation is that participants keep their brains in the group. They must stay focused on the group’s conversation, making supportive comments and asking follow-up questions. When it is appropriate to transition to other topics, they must learn to do so smoothly and naturally.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Doing the Expected?
At Therapies for Success, individuals are explicitly taught to use the expected behaviors; then they practice with their speech-language pathologist coach by their sides.
What is Involved in Making Deep Inferences?
Making deep inferences requires getting inside other people’s minds and their hearts. People must understand what other people are thinking in order to plan the next step or make the next move during any type of social interaction. They must also understand what other people are feeling in order to offer empathy. These skills are critical to social interaction and reading comprehension.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Inference-Making?
Through lessons, stories and social interaction, people are explicitly taught to read minds and feel for others; then they practice with their Therapies for Success speech-language pathologist coaches by their sides.
What is Involved in Taking Perspectives?
In order to take the perspective of others, people must put themselves in another person’s shoes. They must imagine what the other person is thinking and feeling. Then they can respond in a way that is considerate of the other person.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Perspective Taking?
At Therapies for Success, students are explicitly taught to take other people’s perspectives; then they practice with their speech-language pathologist coach by their sides.
What is the Importance of Narrative Discourse?
We tell our personal stories through narratives. We must keep our stories concise and interesting to keep our listeners focused. We must also give adequate information to help our listeners understand. If our narratives are too long or they lack critical information, people don’t know what we’re talking about and then people don’t listen to us and/or eventually tune us out.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Narrative Discourse?
Our speech-language pathologists are specialists in narrative discourse. During individual language therapy sessions, they provide the support to help their students tell their stories; they help their students create graphic organizations to plan and rehearse their stories. Eventually the graphics organizers are replaced by mind maps.
What is Asperger Syndrome?
Asperger Syndrome is a disorder on the autism spectrum that is characterized by significant social interaction difficulties related to problems with perspective taking—seeing other people’s points of view. This frequently causes difficulty with providing empathy and solving problems. These individuals also have a tendency to use restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Asperger Syndrome?
Our speech-language pathologists at Therapies for Success are specialists in intervention for Asperger Syndrome. Treatment must start with a thorough evaluation to identify the root causes of the Asperger Syndrome and coordinate a treatment team to address them. Then a treatment plan will be developed to target the unexpected behaviors (the ones that are interfering most with communication) and then, as soon as possible, strive to develop the communication skills needed for satisfying social interaction and optimal academic achievement.
What is Speech Production?
Speech production pertains to the way individuals pronounce sounds. When speech is not clear, listeners tend to focus on HOW people are talking rather than WHAT they are saying. Speech distortions call attention to themselves and distract listeners; they can even prevent listeners from understanding the message.
What is a Speech Distortion?
The most common speech distortions pertain to the “r” sounds as well as the sounds “s” and “z”. These distortions are usually caused by tongue weakness related to where the tongue is positioned in the mouth.
There are 21 different types of “r” in the English Language. Having an “r” distortion can make it very difficult for listeners to understand the message.
There are also a wide variety of “s” and “z” sounds in the English Language. In addition to all the “s” and “z” sounds used in root words, there are the “s” and “z” sounds used in plurals and possessives.
Having a distortion with either of these sound groups will interfere with communication. And distorting both groups of sounds will interfere with the listener’s understanding of almost every word.
What is the Optimal Treatment for Speech Distortions?
Treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation to identify the cause of the speech disorder. Then the speech pathologists at Therapies for Success will assign exercises to strengthen the speech muscles and correctly produce the new sounds in controlled environments. Gradually the new sounds will be produced clearly in phrases, sentences and, ultimately, in conversational speech.